It’s safe to say that throughout my life thus far I’ve been mostly single. It’s not for lack of trying, I assure you. Truthfully I’ve dated all types men along the way – from gentle giants to selfish jocks to narcissistic bookworms. It’s just that none of them have completely clicked.
As I’m now nearing 30 and many of my close friends are getting engaged, married and having babies, my desire to find “the one” grows stronger and stronger.
While my peers are spending their time with their significant other painting the kitchen of their newly-purchased home or setting up a nursery, I’m sitting here petting my dog, watching “Sex and the City” reruns and eating dinner for one on a snack tray. Certainly not the lonely life I’d envisioned for myself.
Recently, it’s occurred to me that I am part of the problem as to why I’m single, and I believe many other women are unknowingly forcing themselves into a life of singledom as well. No, we’re most definitely not doing it on purpose. It’s simply that we may have fallen into habits that, on some level, are prohibiting us from finding the right person for us.
If you’ve ever asked yourself “why am I still single?” despite wanting to be happily coupled up, here are some reasons you may have never considered along with some ways to shake these stubborn patterns:
1. You Waste Time On the Wrong Men.
It seems like every time I meet a nice, normal man, I’m always simultaneously pining for another one who isn’t remotely attainable.
The age-old notion that women are not interested in “nice guys” proves true far too often. We as women tend to go after men who pose some sort of challenge to us, and test our egos. Many times we’ll choose to spend time with guys we know aren’t right for us in hopes that one day maybe we can change them to actually be right for us.
The problem is, this change very rarely happens.
Once – as an adult women – I spent a year and a half on a man who only kissed me once. I bet you think I’m crazy, right? How could that possibly be correct? But it is. I envisioned that if I put in the leg work, proved to him that I’m an amazing girl who he simply couldn’t live without, he would wake up one morning and say, “Why aren’t I dating that wonderful woman?” Spoiler alert: He never did.
I’m surely not the only woman out there who wastes time. Some stay coupled with men they know aren’t right for them because they’d rather be in a relationship than possibly face being single. However, the reality is, being with the wrong person is eventually going to break you down. What’s more, that time you spent on Mr. Wrong could have been used for meeting someone you’re actually compatible with.
How do you overcome this? Consider challenging yourself to trying an actual “nice guy” on for size. Let him take you on a date or two and remind you of your worth. If you’re really not compatible, that’s fine. But at least you’ll be reminded of your worth, and it will boast your ego when you get back out there and find the right one who does treat you right.
2. You’re Too Comfortable Being Alone.
When you’re used to being able to come home from work, cook dinner for one, and watch anything on TV without compromise, it’s very easy to want things to stay this way, even if only on a subconscious level. You haven’t worried about factoring in someone else’s wants and needs into your bigger picture in a long time, and you sort of enjoy being able to focus fully on yourself.
Many of us get so mired into our routine as a single woman, that we don’t even begin to try to break the mold. Then we’re out one night with our couple friends and get a rude awakening of how single we really are, and panic begins to set in.
If you haven’t dated in a long time, the idea of getting ready for a first date and contemplating what you’ll talk about might rattle your nerves to the bone.
“It seems too scary,” you might say to yourself as you consider canceling. “The idea of being alone feels much safer.”
But, as the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy. So we need to put ourselves out there, despite how terrifying it may seem. And as you’ll slowly begin to remember from your previous relationships, the feeling of excitement being involved in a new relationship will quickly surpass any feelings of nervousness or anxiety.
3. You’re Subconsciously Far Too Picky.
You might go on a first date and leave beaming about how wonderful he was and how you think he could be “the one,” but somewhere around date two it starts to really bug you how he sometimes talks with his mouth full, or laughs too hard at your jokes.
Or worse, you’ve been seeing each other for a couple of months, and you think you might love him but you’re embarrassed about the way he dresses to the point that you might have to end things.
If the above sounds anything like you (and I know I do this as well!) it might be a sure sign that you’re being too picky in your search for love.
Remember there are both things that matter and things that don’t actually matter, when it comes to a partner’s qualities. We all have little bad habits, so it’s helpful to take a step back and assess whether we’d want someone to avoid dating us simply due to our quirks.
Next time you’re beginning to see someone new, consider weighing what things really matter about someone (e.g., would he ever cheat, is he kind, does he value your opinion) versus the small, insignificant things (e.g., what kind of shoes he wears, does he bite his nails, how tall is he). Soon you’ll begin to notice the things that felt like a deal breaker before now seem sort of…silly.
4. You Put Your Career First at Every Turn.
There is nothing wrong with prioritizing your career. In this day and age, women are taking on more and more important roles across all sectors of the work force, and it’s certainly something to feel good about– especially if you love your job. However, when you’ve set up your life so that there’s no time whatsoever for romance, here’s an obvious reason why you’re probably single.
No matter how great your life might be when you’re at the office, I’m sure all of us single women have experienced that moment when you pull in your driveway at the end of the day and realize something is missing. Something big.
It’s far easier said than done, but where possible we should all try to remember the importance of work/life balance. Just because you might not have a family waiting for you at home yet at this point in your life does not mean your evenings spent away from the office are any less valuable.
Making the necessary time for yourself allows you to leave time for connecting with new people, and finding your match. When you begin to free up your personal schedule, you’ll find you’ll have time to actually say yes to those dates you’ve been forced to turn down in the past. And, you’ll feel great about it!
5. You’re Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places.
Many of us find ourselves habitually single due to a very apparent reason – we are connecting with men with whom we lack common interests. I’ve always been all for the saying, “opposites attract,” but I’m a firm believer that, on a more fundamental basis, there simply must be similarities.
In the past, at least a couple of my girlfriends have complained to me that they’ve met a guy out at a club or bar, and after several dates, were disappointed to find that all he wanted to do was go out and party, while all they wanted was something more serious.
That said – it’s helpful to look for connections in places that are more aligned to your true self and interests. So, if you hate sports, frequenting the local sports bar on Sundays to find a man solely because you know men will be present there is likely the wrong tactic. Pretending to be a huge sports fan is only going to take you so far. I can personally attest to that.
Instead, it might be more practical to visit places where you know you’ll have an immediate common interest with someone. If you enjoy volunteering, try joining a local charity to meet new people. Similarly, if you are, indeed, interested in sports, maybe consider joining a co-ed recreational sports team. Gyms can also be a great place to meet people if you have an inherent interest in physical fitness and well-being.
Overall, it’s a good rule-of-thumb for us single ladies to take our future into our own hands in our desire to find the right guy. There are definitely habits of our own that we can alter to make ourselves more available to someone we’re deeply compatible with. For me, I’m certainly working on taking some of the above actions. Here’s to getting outside our comfort zone – whatever that may be – and finding true love!